Shockers eliminate Tulsa; advance to championship game


TULSA, Okla. (KSNW) — Top seed Wichita State took care of business in the American Athletic Conference Championship semifinals with a 9-4 win over Tulsa Friday night.

Wichita State (38-11-1) will play in its first American Conference Championship game Saturday vs. No. 3 seed UCF at 1 p.m. on ESPN2.

Bailey Lange (20-6) won her 20th game of the season in 5.0 innings of work. She allowed three earned runs on four hits, while striking out four. Erin McDonald walked four in an inning of relief and Caitlin Bingham closed it down in the final inning, retiring all three batters she faced.

Addison Barnard was a perfect 3-for-3 with two runs scored and Sydney McKinney added a pair of singles in four at bats. Lauren Mills crushed her 10th home run of the season to go with five RBI and Kaylee Huecker registered a pair of doubles to go with two RBI. Bailee Nickerson (2-for-3, two runs) and Ryleigh Buck (1-for-3, three runs) both added an RBI as well.

Tulsa turned a first-inning hit by pitch and stolen base into a run on a single through the right side just off Huecker’s glove. The Shockers threatened in the home half of the first, loading the bases, but an inning-ending double play kept them off the board.

Wichita State broke through in the bottom of the second on an RBI double from Huecker, scoring Buck all the way from first to tie the game at 1-1.

The Shockers took their first lead after a three-run bottom of the third. Bailee Nickerson, Lauren Mills and Huecker all drove in a run to make it 4-1. Huecker capped the scoring with her second RBI double of the game.

Wichita State broke the game open in the bottom of the fourth with five runs, increasing the lead to 9-2. Buck brought home the first run on a bases-loaded walk, and then the big blast came off the bat of Mills. Her second grand slam of the season cleared the bases and cleared the scoreboard in left-center.

Tulsa cut it to 9-4 in the top of the sixth on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly and RBI groundout.

(Wichita State Athletics contributed information to this article.)

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